As morning and evening commuters make their way along the Guadalupe Parkway (HWY 87) one thing that stands out, after the yellow ducky atop the The Children’s Discovery Museum, is the big blue building shimmering in the sun.
Though one of the city’s more recognizable landmarks, the Sobrato Tower at 488 Almaden Boulevard has been standing vacant, like an elephant in our living room, since its completion in 2002.
The Silicon Valley began to show signs of a slowdown in 2000. With the area having a high unemployment rate from 2002 through 2003, the wisdom of erecting a 17-story, 381,000 square-foot downtown office tower should have seemed unadvisedly a bad idea.
Over the years there have been ideas, rumors, offerings, and deals that fell through. The idea to make it City Hall went nowhere, the offer to eBay got a no thanks, and the deal with NVIDIA Inc didn’t happen.
Now we hear that BEA Systems Inc is going ahead with their plans to make the blue tower their headquarters. If all stays on schedule the deal to buy will close in April.
I’m sure the City of San José will benefit from the buying power of the new guys on the block, but this brings us back to that morning and evening commute. Think of the impact that the added BEA employee’s vehicles may have on the already busy 87 and 280. Will this be a case of be careful what we wish for?